It’s true, the Feudal Eras of Japan were not without imperfection, especially in the area of thought. However, there are still some great nuggets of wisdom we can pull from the Correct Mind for Ninjutsu like courage, benevolence, loyalty, righteousness and fidelity.
A shinobi needs to have a correct mind in all areas, even though the result of ninjutsu is conspiracy and deceit. Unless one can control their mind, they can’t perform their tactics successfully.
The Correct Mind is about keeping benevolence, righteousness, loyalty and fidelity in balance so you can gain courage. The skills of the Shinobi shouldn’t be used for your own desires or by someone with no moral code. If you use them this way, your plans will often fail.
Benevolence is being gentle, affectionate, compassionate and charitable. If one criminal is killed to save a thousand people this could be considered benevolence (according to the Book of Ninja). Act with justice and reason from the bottom of the heart.
Loyalty is devoting your mind entirely to your lord, serving him wholeheartedly and denying yourself. This loyalty should be put above your personal feelings and affections. Loyalty is next to righteousness.
No matter how much deception is involved in ninjutsu, without a firm, deeply rooted loyalty to the lord you’ve chosen to serve, you can’t succeed. It makes no sense to have no loyalty to anyone, because you would gain no reward.
Many ninjas took this very seriously and were committed to their lord even to death.
Righteousness is the guiding principle for making decisions. It’s about a sense of shame, but not false guilt and it never coincides with selfishness.
The shinobi concept of righteousness changes according to the situation. It’s said of ninjutsu that you shouldn’t stick to the old ways (including skills) unbendingly. Your strategy and methods need to change with your situation because there’s no time for indecision.
A word on truth: a ninja was expected to be truthful as much as possible because the person they work for needs to be able to trust them and if their enemy finds them trustworthy, deception becomes easy. They don’t want to be viewed as “the boy who cried wolf.”
Fidelity is to have only truth – nothing false or wrong on your mind. If you have half-truths deep in your heart, you don’t have fidelity. Benevolence, righteousness, and loyalty should all contain fidelity at their core.
Bonus Wisdom Nuggets for You:
“Don’t help unprincipled men [tyrants] with your skills since such skills were developed to defeat such men.”
“When you use right principles, there will be a just end.”
‘Softness overcomes hardness and weakness overcomes strength.”
“I will not be concerned that others do not know me but will be afflicted if I do not know others.”
Stay tuned for The Correct Mind for Ninjutsu part 2, coming in two weeks!